The United Nations Development Programme on Monday transferred four electrical transformers to Gaza in a bid to upgrade the territory’s struggling sole power plant.
The UNDP, in a statement from its Gaza office, said it brought four transformers and other electrical equipment into the territory as part of a project valued at $3.3 million dollars.
“Installation will take around two months,” it said.
“After it is completed, the capacity of the power station will be raised from 80 megawatts (MW) to 120 MW and will be able to handle the full productive output of the Gaza power station,” it said.
Gaza has suffered power outages for years, but has recently experienced the worst electricity and fuel crisis in memory.
The current shortage is largely due to a crackdown on fuel smuggled from Egypt that has forced the power plant to shut down frequently.
But the station’s capacity was already hampered by several factors, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, including the destruction of six transformers in a 2006 Israeli air strike.
Israel’s civil administration, which controls movement in and out of Gaza, issued a statement on Monday saying it had facilitated the delivery of the four transformers to the Palestinian territory.
“Four transformers were brought in order to improve the activity and electricity generation capacity at the station,” it said.
“Israel continues to supply electricity to the Gaza Strip through the 10 power lines that supply 124 megawatts every day into the Gaza Strip,” the statement added.
On April 3, Gaza’s Hamas government said it had reached a deal with the rival Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to ensure a steady flow of fuel via Israel to Gaza.
The deal, hammered out in Cairo, will see the Palestinian Authority pay for some 500,000 litres of fuel a day to be delivered via Israel’s Kerem Shalom border crossing into Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority said the deal was contingent on Gaza’s electricity company paying for the supplies.
Hamas said the agreement would compliment an earlier deal between Hamas and Egypt to work to resolve Gaza’s long-standing electricity problems.
That agreement, announced by Hamas on February 23, called for three stages, the first of which would see Egyptian companies pumping fuel directly to Gaza under the terms of contracts signed with the firms.
The second part of the agreement called for the Islamic Development Bank to fund a project to upgrade and increase the capacity of Gaza’s power plant.
The third phase would connect Gaza’s electricity grid to Egypt’s and convert the Palestinian territory’s power plant, which currently supplies around a third of the territory’s electricity, from diesel to gas.